Monday, April 21, 2008

Snowy Saturday

We had a surprise of snow on Saturday morning! Plans for going to the early garage sales were scrapped and we just made a slow start towards the Antiques and Collectibles fair at a local church. Lots of people in line when we got there. Of course, we had to stop for a coffee and a stroll through the village because we thought we had tons of time. And as we stood waiting for the doors to open, the line grew longer and stretched down the street. Not such exciting stuff but it was interesting to see how it all worked. Which was really our purpose in going. Research, we call it.

After that, we decided to randomly visit garage sales that we found on the way home. Found this lovely angora/wool sweater in a sage/white mix that I soon had frogged and skeined. That niddy-noddy is so handy to have - thnaks, Wendy! The yarn is so fuzzy - there's hair all over my corduroy pants. That is not the best outfit for working with angora. This morning, I washed it and was able to put it outside to dry. Have no plans for it yet; so just into the stash for now. What's with all the green yarn I'm attracted to right now?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Winning three games of solitaire in a row will make my day so much better. I didn't realize until this morning that I have this notion in my head. I'm sure it's not just a superstition, though. Surely if I can perform that feat, then my brain is ready to tackle anything. Winning gives confidence. It's a no-brainer.

What is goofy, is how long it can take me to do it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


We're recovering slowly from our battle with the buttercups on the weekend. It was such nice weather that we had no excuse not to get out there! Those buttercups and dandelions have been laughing at us since last spring. Why weren't we in the garden? Don't have a clue - maybe some better offers? When I'm actually doing stuff in the garden I'm wondering what all the mental fuss was about. But sometimes it's just not the right moment. Leaving it sure makes hard'd think we'd learn.

Digging out the dandelions is easy and there's not so many. They just have one root - yeah, it's usually a big one and breaks if you're not careful - and with the right tool pop up quickly. Buttercups however are a completely different thing with those tenacious root systems. They pop up in the middle of established plants or hide under big leaves. But we did persevere and had about three big bags of the weekend's produce.

Kind of makes me sad to pull up these plants. Dandelions are my favorite flower ever. So cheerful and sturdy and undemanding. And buttercups' dainty yellow flowers remind me of pretend tea parties when I was a kid. These were the flowers I could pick and they decorated many a mud 'cake'. But...the other plants in the garden deserve a chance to thrive and buttercups are stifling. They gotta go - and I know they'll be back.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Boots to Pearls

What a lovely day off from what I do most of the week: volunteering. In the morning, we went for a ramble down on the Mudflats. The birds were definitely telling us that spring had arrived. The sun shone through the clouds and the wind died down.
As always, the best viewing area for birds is just inside the gates. The native plant nursery has a lot of feeders and the red- wing blackbirds were making themselves at home. They are such beautiful singers. There were such a lot of them as well as the chickadees and siskins.
We trekked down to the water to see the ospreys on their huge nest. Three bald eagles flew overhead and a gull was dropping a shell on the beach rocks. Before he could get the meat out another had swooped in to steal it. Such screeching and wing-flapping! A loon dove for his lunch, disappearing and then reappearing.
Through the forest and we found wrens and towhees, a bunch of crossbills in a tree and a brown creeper slipping in and out from under a ragged piece of bark. A flock of golden-crowned kinglets whispered from a pine tree and a downy woodpecker competed with a flicker to see who could make the most noise. The flicker seemed to be trying to enlarge a hole on a nesting box.
The pond turtles weren't sunning themselves yet but we found mallards, buffleheads and a coot.

Later that evening, a party at T's restaurant: Mangia e Bevi. They were celebrating their first anniversary which is no mean feat in this city where a new eatery can just disappear. The wineries were there to pour tasters of their best stuff and we munched on crostini, delicious lamb chops and a fabulous pasta served in a huge Parmesan wheel which had been mostly scraped out. Some cheese remained to melt in with the pasta...mmm. Lots of people were there to help make the party a success.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Real estate

Location isn't always the most important factor in real estate, apparently. We have been watching last year's bush tit nest ever since we discovered it when all the leaves fell. It was a cozy-looking moss 'sock' hanging high in our neighbor's rugosa. I can easily watch it as I work at the computer. At least, I can until the leaves grow and hide the nest again. It's a very secure location.

When the snow left, the rains lessened and the winter winds died down, I could see it had suffered some structural damage. Pairs of bush tits began to stop by and assess the nest for its potential as a home. First, they had to get inside which wasn't all that easy. When all you have is a little beak, punching a hole in matted moss and bird spit and resin is pretty difficult. But they persevered and one day a hole appeared. Unfortunately, it gaped widely after the next rainfall.

A finch came exploring and tore at the nest with his beak. His bigger beak and larger size enabled him to fly off with a huge bunch of material. He tried again, later in the day, but a pair of bush tits drove him away. A-ha! I thought: Here's the new owners. But, sadly, this pair gave up, too. As has every pair over the past couple of weeks. As the nest becomes more and more dilapidated, the bush tits have used it as a demolition site; salvaging the building materials and flying off with them to new locations.

So, today, the mossy tube droops forlornly high up in the rose bush. The entry hole has been enlarged to the bottom where there is a new opening. Bush tits still come to this shrub and they still look at the nest. Must be some good bugs on the branches. Or, maybe this is a tourist destination now. On the bush tit 'wonders of the world' circuit. Do ya think?

Monday, April 7, 2008

My green yarn

It's finally drying. This is my Australian wool yarn that I found in a garage sale. It's pretty bulky and there's less than 500 meters so I''ll have to think hard about what to make with it. Right now I'm thinking some kind of zipped vest. The yarn took the dye so well I was taken by surprise. I had sort of thought it might be mottle-y because of the small amount of nylon content. I had a vision of overdyeing in a different color and making a blend but totally not necessary. It's more pastel than I had anticipated but still a wonderful new celery green. I can hardly wait to start swatching and playing with a design.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hooking again

This quilt square stuff is fun! So small that they only take a short time and then you're done. And, best of all, no binding to do. Have I said how tedious it is to finish projects?
Anyway, this block is called Bear's Paw and I have taken this quite literally, I think. Even though it's a geometric pattern, I obviously haven't given up my need for pictorials. I had this lovely brown tweed which is so like our brown/black bears on the west coast. The gray for the claws is kind of nifty, too. I originally chose it because the tweediness gave it a flinty quality that seemed to work for a claw. Then, as I was hooking it, I noticed a small thread of dark red. Now, it really makes me smile.
The green 'background' is a lovely piece of green tweed that has all kinds of meaning for me. There's blue for the sea & sky, green for the trees and grass, brown for earth and bark. I'll be so sad to use all this one up.
When you hook with recycled fabric strips the resource is not quite renewable. But, then, I wouldn't want to have anything but the endless variety of fabrics that are available. I actually can't imagine hooking with only wool fabric purchased by the bolt and dyed. That's fun to do, for sure, but I like the little surprises - like the red thread.

Oh, yeah, this is square #4. What I have pictured is one corner of the square. There are actually four 'paws'


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